Argentina beat Malaysia 5-2; Japan stuns Canada 2-1

Johannesburg: Pedro Ibarra and Agustin Alejandro Mazzilli scored two goals as Pan-American champions Argentina bounced back from a half-time deficit to outplay Malaysia 5-2 and top Pool B in the Champions Challenge hockey on Tuesday.

Argentina finished with seven points through two wins and a draw.

Japan pulled off a surprise 2-1 victory over Canada to take the second spot in the four-team group, with five points from a victory and two drawn matches.

Canada had three points from the win over Malaysia, who just secured a single point from the draw against Japan.

Malaysia enjoyed a 1-0 lead at half-time, opening the scoring through Azlan Misron`s firm reverse drive past a crowded defence.

Argentina equalised in the 44th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Ibarra. Then came three goals in the space of eight minutes that put Argentina firmly in control against the hard-working Malaysians.

Mazzilli capitalised on a penalty corner in the 51st minute and fired in a field goal in the 58th, while Rodrigo Nicolas Vila scored in field play in the 52nd.

Malaysia pulled one back in the 64th minute through Amin Rahim`s penalty corner shot, but conceded a last minute goal when Ibarra drove the ball home in the last raid of the game.

Canada took the initial lead against Japan in the third minute through Iain Smythe, and Japan equalised five minutes before half-time on a penalty stroke conversion by Koji Kayukawa.

A breakaway goal from Hiroki Sakamoto in the 41st minute clinched Japan victory in the well-contested encounter.

PTI

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